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ultimusrex

Wall-Mount Tablet Control Center Ideas

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ultimusrex
Hey everyone. First of all, I'm unsure if this is the best place for this thread, so admins, feel free to move it, if necessary.
 
As I am just starting (or trying to get started) setting up a smart home/home automation system, and I am a huge technophile, it has always been a dream of mine to have a cool (and useful) central touchscreen control panel in my house. As I was dreaming up future plans for my smart home, I revisited this concept. At first it was a fleeting and fanciful dream, since there is no way that, on our budget, I am going to waste an expensive tablet computer to act as a mostly dedicated wall-mounted control panel. But then my eyes got wide, along with my grin, as I remembered the likes of www.gearbest.com -- with a huge selection of relatively dirt cheap off-brand smart phones and tablets. So now I've been thinking very seriously about this possibility and searching for a good tablet at a good price, as well as some nice wall-mount hardware.
 
So I'm wondering what you all think about the DIY touchscreen control panel for the smart home. Do any of you already have something implemented? I am trying to compile a list of possible uses for such a device, to make it as useful (and cool) as possible. If you have any ideas, or know any good apps for this purpose, please include them in a reply. The ultimate version of this idea would be to have a tablet eventually in most rooms of the house, maybe a larger, slightly more expensive one near the home entry, and smaller, cheaper satellite devices throughout. I personally would prefer an Android tablet for this, but if you have any ideas for an iPad (or Windows), please share those, too.
 
Here are some of my own ideas:
  • Home Automation Control Center -- most likely using the mobile app for whichever smart home ecosystem you have decided to go with in your home
  • Weather Station -- Lately I've been really happy with an Android app called "Weather Timeline" that I think would look good and work well
  • Music Player -- I don't think this would work very well if you're a big audiophile, but using the tablet's bluetooth, you could connect it to bluetooth speakers in the room or a bluetooth receiver in your media center and play Pandora, Spotify, or whatever over them, or find a more robust whole-home music system that has an tablet app available for control.
  • Video Phone -- using Skype, Google Hangouts, or whatever.
  • Motion Sensor/Security Cam -- I know there are ways, with combinations of apps and the likes of Tasker, to have the built-in (front-facing) camera watch for motion then start recording or broadcasting when it sees something.
  • Intercom -- if you have tablets mounted in multiple rooms and don't feel like shouting across the house to your spouse or children, you could "call" them on the tablet network. I know there has to be some walkie-talkie-type apps available, or there's always Google Hangouts with voice calls and video calls.
  • Note/Message Center -- you could keep a notepad or sticky notes widget, or an audio note app, on the home screen so you can leave memos to your family, manage your shopping list, etc.
  • Household Calendar -- using Google Calendar (or whatever app/service your household uses), you could keep track of everybody's agenda.
  • Security System Control Center -- Currently, we have an ADT system, but once our contract is up, I'm hoping to cancel them and set up a self-managed system and use a mounted tablet for controlling and activating it.

 

I'm sure I'll think of some other ways to use a wall-mounted tablet, and I'll try to add them to this list as they come to me (or as I add them to my own mounted tablet).

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ultimusrex

I am a fan of a kitchen or common area PC, but a 21" Android tablet is interesting as well.

Especially for $199

http://computers.woot.com/offers/famous-maker-21-aio-android-desktop?ref=cnt_dly_tl

I was thinking more like a 7"-10" panel around the living room and front entry, but a kitchen tablet would be nice for recipes, etc. And a large monitor-sized tablet like the one in your link could be cool, too... Someday down the line when it's time to replace our main TV, I will have to look into touchscreen options that actually run Android, so we can have a big huge touch wall (section), basically.

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witchdoctor

 

 
Here are some of my own ideas:
  • Home Automation Control Center -- most likely using the mobile app for whichever smart home ecosystem you have decided to go with in your home
  • Weather Station -- Lately I've been really happy with an Android app called "Weather Timeline" that I think would look good and work well
  • Music Player -- I don't think this would work very well if you're a big audiophile, but using the tablet's bluetooth, you could connect it to bluetooth speakers in the room or a bluetooth receiver in your media center and play Pandora, Spotify, or whatever over them, or find a more robust whole-home music system that has an tablet app available for control.
  • Video Phone -- using Skype, Google Hangouts, or whatever.
  • Motion Sensor/Security Cam -- I know there are ways, with combinations of apps and the likes of Tasker, to have the built-in (front-facing) camera watch for motion then start recording or broadcasting when it sees something.
  • Intercom -- if you have tablets mounted in multiple rooms and don't feel like shouting across the house to your spouse or children, you could "call" them on the tablet network. I know there has to be some walkie-talkie-type apps available, or there's always Google Hangouts with voice calls and video calls.
  • Note/Message Center -- you could keep a notepad or sticky notes widget, or an audio note app, on the home screen so you can leave memos to your family, manage your shopping list, etc.
  • Household Calendar -- using Google Calendar (or whatever app/service your household uses), you could keep track of everybody's agenda.
  • Security System Control Center -- Currently, we have an ADT system, but once our contract is up, I'm hoping to cancel them and set up a self-managed system and use a mounted tablet for controlling and activating it.

 

I'm sure I'll think of some other ways to use a wall-mounted tablet, and I'll try to add them to this list as they come to me (or as I add them to my own mounted tablet).

 

 

Hi, I am also just starting my smart home and going the tablet-as-control route 

 

Excellent ideas, altho personally I don't find any use in a weather station beyond reading the current temp ;P

 

Motion detector camera is definitely doable. I read in the Tasker forums that tehre is a motion detector app that can communicate with Tasker. What I have done personally is using my desktop PC as the "eyes" of my system.

 

 

Message Center is  a great idea! I am sort of using a similar thing. I use Google Tasks (syncing) widget on my wall-mounted android tablet, on my android phone, and sometimes access it thru browser on my PC. I only use it as a shopping list tho.

 

 

 

My ideas:

1. You don't really need to have one function for each tablet. For example, you could use Zooper widgets on android to design a nice looking homescreen with buttons and switches, and then use different Zooper widgets on each homescreen. If you use the same setup on every wall tablet in your home, you could easily swithc between "modes" via flicking to the next home screen. I do like the idea of having one assigned function for each tablet tho, it feels more like a big computer that way :)

 

2. "Scene Changer".   This would be a combined "media control center" and "mood lighting switcher". Personally I am using a Windows computer with EventGhost, and rooted android devices with Tasker installed. Using Tasker and Eventghost I can create Tasker "apps" that look almost however I want. So the Scene Changer would be a Tasker-created app containing buttons that control Winamp, Zoom Player, LIFX bulbs. It would have shortcuts such as "relax mode" which would turn the light blue and start playing chillout music on Winamp and maybe set my phone to silent mode. There could also be a "workout mode" that turns the light to yellow and plays upbeat music etc. And "romantic mode", "sex mode", "gaming mode", "study mode", anything suited to one's needs 

It would also have buttons for music volume, TV volume/channel, a youtube shortcut etc. It would also have a scene that changes all tablets into digital photo frames or musical visualizers.

 

3. I don't know what it should be called, but one screen should show an overview of your vacuum robot's scheduling and other views and settings for appliances so you can quickly change settings and show status for door locks, windows, washing machine, oven/stove, etc. Altho maybe that's what you meant with your first idea.

 

4. Info Screen - showing weather, news headlines, traffic information, public transport schedules and other relevant info.

 

I thought I had more ideas but really, you basically mentioned all the good ones :)

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StanHD

Hi, I use a Vogels TMS 1010 wall mount. Quick release and allows rotation. Available on Amazon.

Studio_20150413_184553.jpg

It should work with almost any make / type of tablet @ 10". (That's an old ipad 1 in the picture.)

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Dave

I just picked up a cheap Nexus 9 Android tablet and have started putting together what i'm calling "super tablet."  Lots of apps still to test but I'm hoping my main interface will be SmartTiles on top of SmartThings.  

 

I went with the Nexus 9 because it has a roadmap to Android M. It's not a cheapo tablet but I want that assurance because I am hoping to do dual apps on the screen with M.  The other reason is the nexus is able to send to ChromeCast devices from the system, not just an app.  It's in the pull down menu in the drawer.  That way I can cast Amazon Music from the device.  The Amazon Echo Dot may change that but I like having the option.

 

I also plan on trying a presence app that will turn the screen on when you get close to it.  Then hopefully SmartTiles will show you all the info you need including cameras.  Yet, you can jump out and look at cameras and recorded video if needed.  All pie in the sky right now as I play Boom Beach on the Nexus 9 tablet!

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RichardGunther

I've wanted to do this for years with an old iPad, and I finally gave in last Fall using an iPort mounting kit. A few apps I use on it all the time are

  • TripIt for monitoring household travel plans
  • Amazon Alexa
  • Sonos
  • Find My Phone
  • TiVo (for quick recording management)

Getting started: https://twitter.com/richardgunther/status/670661799608516610

 

Completed project: https://twitter.com/richardgunther/status/670745588724572160

 

Budget? Well...it wasn't cheap. The mounting kit was about $250, but that comes with everything but Ethernet to draw the low voltage and a lightning cable to connect the iPad.

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garbled

I recently got a "Dragon Touch" 10" android off Amazon for about $129.  I wrote DIY automation software, and recently wrote a web interface for it.  I'm still mucking about with the installation of the pad in the wall, but it's getting there.

 

My goal is less a bunch of apps to control things, and more one web-app to control the general automation stuff, like switches etc.

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